There is no doubt that Kashmir is beautiful, but to add more flavour to its beauty vloggers are playing a pivotal role. A vlogger is somebody who creates and uploads a video blog. You can look as a vlogger as being somebody who films his or her life, a place and other things rather than writing about it. Some vloggers make daily videos while others make videos less frequently when they have something specific to say to their followers.
This story features some young and prominent vloggers from the Kashmir valley, who have been promoting and exploring the unknown destinations and taking them to the world.
Hailing from Srinagar, the 34-year-old Imad Rehman is popularly known by his social handle name as Imad Clicks. Imad started his journey back in 2018. “When I came back from Dubai, I started looking online about Kashmir and its landscape pictures but couldn’t find the perfect ones. That’s when I decided to start to record the videos and promote the nature and beauty of my place,” said Imad who has close to one lakh subscribers on YouTube.
His vlogs focus on capturing meadows and mountains of the valley. “They are unexplored and I am trying to bring them on the screen,” he said.
Imad said that his majority of subscribers are living in diaspora countries. “They want to see a unique side of Kashmir’s beauty,” he said.
When asked about challenges they face while shooting, he said, “Recent ban on the drone by the government created some hurdles as our work depends a lot on its use. Things have been sorted out now as we have to seek the permissions from the local district administration before flying it.”
“In many cases when we go into mountains to shoot, we have been quizzed by the security forces on the way because we were going with so many cameras,” said Imad, who had studied Business Management from Indian Institute of Planning & Management, New Delhi.
The 26-year-old vlogger is now a household name in the valley and much popular among youth. Mir has one lakh and twenty three thousand subscribers on YouTube.
“Most of the students who join journalism had a mind-set that they would get to travel but I believe if you had to travel then you have to stay away from the hard news. I always wanted to travel and help followers to explore new places through my reporting but unfortunately I couldn’t do it there. That’s when I choose recording the videos for my viewers,” he said.
When asked about his journey, he said, “There was a time when I used to upload over hundreds of videos a day and get a few hundred views only which was discouraging. But one needs to keep hope. See today I get to travel a lot and earn good as well,” he said.
He highlighted the issue of Internet shutdown in Kashmir. “If you produce the content every day, the viewers will remember you and if we stop they will forget us. In case of Internet closure in the valley, it will lead to a dip of 90 percent in my viewership,” said Mir, who has studied journalism and over seven years of experience in the field.
Younis Khan, Hilal Khan, Mir Danish
A group of three friends from Srinagar who run a YouTube channel with the name- Explore Kashmir have become much popular now. They have over twenty five thousand subscribers.
Younis told Indiatimes that their primary focus is to explore the unexplored places of the valley. “We all are fond of travelling and have been inspired by some vloggers from outside the valley. We have been travelling to hidden places that are not known to general people and this year too we are planning to shoot on the same lines,” he said.
When asked Hilal about the suggestion for the new vloggers, he said: “Give your best, produce the best content and keep producing continuously. Don’t get discouraged. Great achievements take a lot of time.”
Hailing from mountainous Manjgran village of Boniyar tehsil in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, Raashid has been making every effort to promote his district when J&K Tourism couldn’t do it. He has twenty nine thousand subscribers on Youtube.
“Baramulla district has such an alluring landscape but unfortunately it has not been fully explored yet. I recently travelled to Guwaas village in the district which lacks basic facilities but if it is set on the tourism map people will surely start visiting there,” he said.
Raashid said that the unfortunate part is that the outsiders have not heard the name of Baramulla district. “They are only familiar with Gulmarg, Pahalgham and Sonamarg. This district is rich in water bodies, mountains and forests that need to be promoted,” he said.
Raashid who started vlogging in May 2019 said that he will also try to give a social message through his new videos. “We will tell our followers not to pollute these beautiful places instead focus on sanitation as well,” he said adding, “I am also starting the vlogging in Phari language so as to preserve my mother tongue.”
A young and energetic content creator from Bijhama area of border town Uri in north Kashmir, Farhaan is passionate about travelling into the forests and mountains. His YouTube channel features vlogs in which he is seen travelling across sprawling landscapes of Uri.
“Uri being the last village of Kashmir has been neglected by the authorities in terms of its serene beauty. I am bringing it on the camera through my end,” he said.
“We want the concerned authorities to come out from the phobia of those specific tourist destinations of Kashmir which are already well known. Uri has a potential to become an International level of tourist destination if the place is taken seriously,” he said.
The 20-year old Faizul Manzoor is the first Kashmiri female YouTube vlogger. Hailing from Barzulla area of Srinagar, Faizul is working hard to earn her name as a YouTube vlogger among audiences.
She said, “YouTube is a good platform in today’s world for starting vlogs as this social media app is being used by millions of people across the world.”
“My first channel was blocked in the year 2020 and then I was in depression but I didn’t lose hope and created a second one making vlogs on travelling and fashion. The best vlog I have done so far was on Dal Lake where I tried to show the world about tourism which was appreciated a lot by the people. Vlogging helps connect people from other countries,” she said adding, she is interested in modeling and acting and has appeared in various brand shoots.
“I am thankful to my family, especially my mother for supporting and encouraging me,” she added.
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